Skip to main content

A Long Time in Politics

Looking back through this weblog, I see that at the end of last month, six years had passed since the front door of No10 Downing Street closed behind me.

I was seeing Ed Richards that morning. He was the senior policy advisor to Tony Blair and I had been asked along to talk about ideas for the new "Broadband Britain." Since then of course, Ed has been made Chief Executive of OFCOM and I've become a member of the Conservative Party.

Something changed in Government after 2002. In some ways it resembled George Orwell's story, Animal Farm and today, after a decade of the same Government, it is far more pronounced and indeed visible to the broader population. Peter Hitchin, in his book, 'The Abolition of Britain' started to worry about this cultural revolution as far back as 1999 and I really started to notice its influence in the corridoors of power in 2002. Things were not quite as they seemed in the new politics and I doubt they will ever be the same again.

We are all part of a great social experiment with nothing comparable since perhaps 1066. Six years ago, the writing was on the wall but today you read all about it in the newspapers; the legacy of a series of grand plans that have, in the opinion of many, Bishops, editors and politicians alike, contributed to the growing notion of a broken society.

Who would have thought it six years ago? It's a very long time in politics if you count it in Ministers and Prime Ministers past.

Popular posts from this blog

Mainframe to Mobile

Not one of us has a clue what the world will look like in five years’ time, yet we are all preparing for that future – As  computing power has become embedded in everything from our cars and our telephones to our financial markets, technological complexity has eclipsed our ability to comprehend it’s bigger picture impact on the shape of tomorrow.

Our intuition has been formed by a set of experiences and ideas about how things worked during a time when changes were incremental and somewhat predictable. In March 1953. there were only 53 kilobytes of high-speed RAM on the entire planet.

Today, more than 80 per cent of the value of FTSE 500* firms is ‘now dark matter’: the intangible secret recipe of success; the physical stuff companies own and their wages bill accounts for less than 20 per cent: a reversal of the pattern that once prevailed in the 1970s. Very soon, Everything at scale in this world will be managed by algorithms and data and there’s a need for effective platforms for ma…

Civilisational Data Mining

It’s a new expression I haven’t heard before. ‘Civilisational data mining.’

Let me start by putting it in some context. Every character, you or I have typed into the Google search engine or Facebook over the last decade, means something, to someone or perhaps ‘something,’ if it’s an algorithm.


In May 2014, journalists revealed that the United States National Security Agency, the NSA, was recording and archiving every single cell-phone conversation that took place in the Bahamas. In the process they managed to transform a significant proportion of a society’s day to day interactions into unstructured data; valuable information which can of course be analysed, correlated and transformed for whatever purpose the intelligence agency deems fit.

And today, I read that a GOP-hired data company in the United States has ‘leaked’ personal information, preferences and voting intentions on… wait for it… 198 million US citizens.

Within another decade or so, the cost of sequencing the human genome …

The Big Steal

I’m not here to predict the future;” quipped the novelist, Ray Bradbury. “I’m here to prevent it.” And the future looks much like one where giant corporations who hold the most data, the fastest servers, and the greatest processing power will drive all economic growth into the second half of the century.

We live in an unprecedented time. This in the sense that nobody knows what the world will look like in twenty years; one where making confident forecasts in the face of new technologies becomes a real challenge. Before this decade is over, business leaders will face regular and complex decisions about protecting their critical information and systems as more of the existing solutions they have relied upon are exposed as inadequate.

The few real certainties we have available surround the uninterrupted march of Moore’s Law - the notion that the number of transistors in the top-of-the-line processors doubles approximately every two years - and the unpredictability of human nature. Exper…